Director of Blinders, Donny Moss, wrote to us last night pointing out Mayor Bloomberg's declaration of a weather emergency yesterday, in which he stated: "Clearing the streets remains our number one job—and to do that, motorists should please, please refrain from driving." However, the carriage horses were still out there working hard, and Moss wonders "how the ASPCA could have possibly allowed them to leave their buildings this morning, given the Mayor's announcement, the dangerous conditions, and the law, which clearly states that horses should not be working under these conditions."
One witness reported back, "For a while the horses couldn't get to the water trough at 6th avenue, but at 11:15 a.m. a guy came to shovel it out." Carriage horses were also spotted on 59th Street in Manhattan, as well as at Grand Army Plaza (photos above).The ASPCA assured Moss that the horses were not allowed to be working today, and said they would check it out. Additionally, ASPCA's Anita Kelso Edson tells us:
Humane Law Enforcement (HLE) agents of the ASPCA suspended New York City carriage horses on January 23, 24 and 26, as well as Thursday morning, January 27, after snow had accumulated. Approximately 10 carriages traveled to the park Thursday morning, either ignoring or defying the morning suspension and notification by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), which also has authority to enforce laws.
The other 50-plus carriage owners kept their horses and carriages inside the stables for their safety. Just 10 carriages ignored the mayor's announcement of a city weather emergency. At 12:30 pm, these carriages were suspended by ASPCA agents, who have said authority when conditions are dangerous to the horses and/or the public. Later that afternoon a complainant called the ASPCA’s HLE hotline to report a horse seen in the park, and ASPCA agents located the horse and suspended this individual carriage.
The law states that horse owners shall not allow the horses to be working during adverse weather or other dangerous conditions which are a threat to the health or safety of the horse. The law also states that if a horse is being worked when such conditions develop they must immediately be returned to the stable by the most direct route.
A team of equine experts within the ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement Department monitor the care and working conditions of New York City's carriage and riding horses. ASPCA agents appreciate concerned citizens' reports, as the carriage horse industry does not police itself.
The following tips will help in reporting suspected carriage horse problems:
- The two most important pieces of information to provide are the time of the incident and the carriage license plate, a 4-digit number located on the back of the carriage. With the time and number, ASPCA can track down the horse and driver involved.
- Other helpful information can include: color of horse, color of carriage, location of incident and hoof brand number of horse.
- To report carriage horse cruelty or neglect, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 876-7700, ext. 4450. After business hours, you will be transferred to a voice messaging system and your call will be returned by an on-duty agent.